The federal governments move toward a national compulsory internet filter is misguided. However I suspect that it does tap into a genuine concern held in certain quarters of the Australian community. The solution is not a single, mandatory, government run filter, but a system of privately operated filters that cater to specific situations. In my house we filter internet content and protect the kiddies using a free service provided by OpenDNS.com. The criteria used by OpenDNS for what should be blocked and what should not be blocked is based on a number of classifications (eg Adult Sex, Videos, Games) which you can choose to block or allow. The community of OpenDNS users provides continuous feedback on how sites should or shouldn’t be classified.
McDonalds have also helped to pave the way forward in announcing that their free wireless Internet service will hence forth be filtered.
McDonalds will be deploying earthwave’s Clean Pipes service to make the internet “Family Friendly” for its 1.45 million customers per day who use the Telstra Next-IP Wi-Fi hotspots in its 720 stores, the company said in a statement today.
The system uses firewalls, network intrusion prevention systems, distributed denial of service protection and other web protection mechanisms.
It will block sites which contain content considered not family friendly such as pornography or bomb-making information. It will use a URL listing service to do that, but McDonald’s also has the ability to place sites it believes to be inappropriate on its black list.
Whilst ISPs rightly lament the governments initative in this area they could move quicker to provide workable solutions of their own. If the government is in a hurry to get results it would be better off providing incentives to the private sector rather than seeking to lock us all in to one single ubiquitous centralised compulstory solution.
Feel free to tell us about your favourite filtering solution in the comments.